Aish Kodesh 3/26/09 Vayikra Pesach Purim - Rabbi Henoch Dov Hoffman
, negative space
, positive space
(Blizzard; short class on the recording)
The Rabbi told how a rock shattered his windshield at the exact moment Peterâs wife died. He didnât see anyone there and he thinks it was the Angel of Death who shattered the windshield. Peter is an old friend of the Rabbiâs and was in class last night.
Recommended movies: Innocence, Waltz with Bashir.
How do we know when to attach and when to let go? Vayikra means âAnd he called.â How does this translate into Leviticus?
WIKIPEDIA: The English name is derived from the Latin Liber Leviticus, which is derived in turn from the Greek Î²Î¹Î²Î»Î¯Î¿Î½ ÏÎ¿ ÎÎµÏÎ¹ÏÎ¹ÎºÏÎ½, (biblion to Levitikon), meaning "book of the Levites". The English title is somewhat misleading, as the book makes a very strong distinction between the priesthood, descended from Aaron, and mere Levites. The custom in the Hebrew bible is to name the books of the Torah by their first word, in this case Vayikra ×Ö·×Ö´Ö¼×§Ö°×¨Ö¸×, "and He called" - vayikra is also the name of the first weekly Torah reading or parshah in the book.
Werner Heisenberg, a Nazi, postulated the Uncertainty Principle, that the universe is cold and random. The Amalak view of the world is doubt.
Einstein tried to find a proof for his Unified Field Theory to counter Heisenberg, saying G*d does not throw dice. He was never able to do this, since it entailed trying to prove that light was an infinite wave and a finite particle simultaneously. In Judaism, this is Shmah Yisrael.
Today, Nissan 1, is the first day of the year, marking the time we switched from the Egyptian solar calendar to the lunar calendar.
PURIM: Why do we call this holiday Purim from PUR, lots, Haman cast lots? Why do we call it random luck?
The VOV YUD construct (changes the verb form from the future to the past); it is the sword from Gan Eden that turns everything upside down. This is when death was introduced into the world as a cure for manâs insufferable ego.
DARKNESS. We are trying to understand the source of all darkness. Things are not always the way they seem. For instance, the three days of darkness in Mitzrayim are said to actually have been a light so bright that the Egyptians could not see.
Darkness originated in the tzimtzum when the vessels were shattered.
Some people see darkness as the absence of light while others see that darkness has its own qualities. Scientists say that the light in the universe comes from the dark places.
Compare the three words, matzo (MEM TAZDI HEY), mitzvah (MEM TZSADI VOV HEY), tzimtzum; they all have the MEM-TZADI construction. How can we connect these words?
Compare and contrast these words: matzo (MEM TAZDI HEY) and mitzvah (MEM TZSADI VOV HEY) both have the HEY, which is the open heart and chaos. Chumatz (CHET MEM TZADI) has the same letters but has a CHET rather than a HEY; the CHET is the closed heart.
In the world that is cold and dark, everything is moving towards death and memory is toxic because we remember only discouraging things.
[TRF: We donât sell our chumatz but we sell the part of the house with the chumatz. What can this mean? Perhaps it means that we have to own our puffed-upness but we donât have to include it in our âhouse,â that is, the things we identify with as being us. This brings us back to the detachment we were talking about.]
Sacred Fire, page 266, paragraph 3
What does it mean that detachment precedes arousal?
-You have to be aware of your own individuality. (Rabbi: The kallah and chassan have a week of separation from each other before the wedding.)
-Tzimtzum means that contraction makes room for us. In order to exist we have to have longing for HaShem. (Rabbi: The hardest sephera to teach is MALCHUT, the womb, the dark, empty space.)
-Detachment is a dynamic for teshuva. For example, Miriam stayed outside the camp where the silent space allows for contemplation. (Rabbi: The second Luchos (tablets) were given in silence instead of the fanfare with which the first set were given.)
-Detachment and arousal is the image of the mother and the baby. In order for the mother to nurse the baby, the baby has to detach from the womb. The baby can nurse only if he/she is separate from the mother. (Rabbi: the womb protects the baby from the mother.)
The CHET , which is closed, is menstruation, stopped up.
The HEY is the open womb. The womb is the ultimate compassion. Sympathy can stunt growth.
Does attachment precede arousal? Attachment and arousal guarantees that there will be abandonment and suffering.
The Song of Songs is all about separation and closeness, with strong, compelling images. The Aish Kodesh says the more the father and the son are parted, the more love they have for each other and the more they long for each other. His son was killed in the first week of the war.
In this class we are trying to connect Purim and Pesach and explore how Purim is the pinnacle of maturity.
Page 541 of Stone Chumash, Exodus, last weekâs parsha: Moses could not enter the tent of meeting. Moses comes down Mt. Sinai and says: if I act like Noach, I will destroy the Israelites. Then HaShem says that to him. The Ark means not only the ship that Noach sailed in but also words of Torah. Abraham heard G*dâs voice telling him to destroy his son totally, burn him up. Are these false voices? Misunderstandings of G*dâs voice? It has to do with the tzimtzum. Noachâs reality is that G*d hates us and regrets having made us. Hitler said something similar: The Germans let me down and they should die. (Hitler was responsible for the death of 60 million Germans.)
A test is a darkness. We would not even know that it is a test without Noach. We are redefining tzadik to mean a person who marks dead ends.
The Tzimtzum is Moses coming down the mountain and seeing an orgy. If he brings the tablets of truth to the orgy, they will destroy everything. Moses reads the story of Noach every day. Noach was a bad teacher: he lost all of his students because he imposed his ideas on them instead of meeting them where they were at. When Moses realizes this after the Golden Calf, he gives them an arts and crafts project.
The main artwork in the Mishkan was the cherubim and the essence of them was the empty space between them. Moses is teaching us to see negative space rather than positive space.
Stone Chumash page 517. The laws of Shabbos finish the Mishkan. There are 39 kinds of work that go into the Mishkan, and these are the activities that are forbidden on Shabbos. I see a positive thing, such as gold, which is fear. (trf: why not security? I reach towards the gold, security, when I am filled with fear.) The Shabbos part of the gold is the part I do not control. G*d made the gold. The gold has a soul and I do not control it. On Shabbos I see all the things I do not control. You have to feel nonessential to yourself to do Shabbos. The world can go on without me.
How can you reduce your ego enough that you can see G*d?
Moses said I have to remove myself in a way that works. He moves outside the Mishkan while longing to be inside, and this is the moment when G*d calls to him. If you can build the Mishkan and then give it to your brother, this is a big deal.
Bitsalal (the young man who was the main craftsman) means In The Shadow Of HaShem.
It takes a lot of maturity to step out of your role in order to play another part, as in psychodrama or in Purim.
Chumatz symbolizes the healthy ego. In the Book of Esther, G*d disappears and the people rise up. Rising up is chumatz. This is very different from in Mt. Sinai, where we disappeared in G*dâs embrace.
Todayâthe first day of the new yearâwe go back to being immature slaves. Slavishness. Slave mentality. The evil son would not have been invited to the exodus, but we need to keep him at the seder table.
First we have Purim, which is liquor, chumatz, improv, and unstructured, followed by Pesach, which is ordered and constrictive.
The 210 years in Mitzrayim are the tzimtzum of Jewish history. Abrahamâs main lesson was how to walk in front of G*d. It is hard to teach. You can find light in the darkest room, in the Warsaw Ghetto.
The mature ego can face King Ahasveros, who is telling us that G*d has abandoned the Jews. The negative space creates longing, the power of detachment. How do you convince someone to detach from emotions?
Yom Kippur is our bar mitzvah. Chanukah and Purim are the least restrictive holidays, coming at the end of the year. We have now reached adulthood. On Purim we are invited to get shikkered and find out what we are made of. (trf: if we do this and find something negative and ugly, we are tempted to say we did it wrong, if we were mature and we got shikkered, we would have seen something beautiful. Not true. We may have seen a core issue that had previously been hidden emerge. Getting to see a previously hidden core issue is not ugly but beautiful.)
The Rabbi tells a story about Chuck Gaven, the ex-Bronco lineman, on a wilderness trip. The leaders of the trip disappeared and the campers got lost and became angry. When the campers finally figured it out and got to the top, Gaven picked up HH and shook him, saying: Lay some of your magic on us!
At Pesach we can ask ourselves: What did my own personal four children learn this year? Are they more mature? Are their questions any better?
VAYIKRA: KAR (cold, random incident), ALEPH (the letter of paradox that connects Heaven and earth; oneness. In this parshah the aleph is small to signify Mosheâs humility).
Is death the beginning of arousal, of renewal?
Netzach and HOD: Someone with an mortal illness said: I have to fight and yield at the same time.
The idea of Torah is not that G*d tells us what to eat and wear. Rather, G*d says: take a drink and see what you are made of. Teshuva has the power to turn ugly into beauty.
BWF: Joys and disappointments need to be experienced together.
DG: A test can take place only in a dark space.
Rabbi Henoch Dov teaches in Denver, Colorado. You can contact him through his web page, www.RabbiHenochDov.com or via email email@example.com.